New at Mondoweiss: “At Native American prayer camp, Palestinian refugees share stories and build connections”

Amith Gupta, one of the organizers of the North America Nakba Tour, has published a new article at Mondoweiss highlighting the tour’s launch and the exploration of joint indigenous solidarity between Palestinians and the Ramapough Lenape Nation, currently resisting an oil pipeline being built through their traditional territory.

Photo: Amith Gupta

Gupta writes: “Palestinian refugees from the refugee camps of Lebanon met with members of the Ramapough Lenape tribe on Friday, September 15 for a communal dialogue about joint indigenous struggle, tactics, and future collaboration. The stop was at the inaugural event of the 2017 North America Nakba Tour, which brings Palestinian refugees Khawla Hammad and Amena El-Ashkar to visit communities in North America…

Amena and Khawla traveled to New Jersey where they were hosted by the Ramapough Lenape tribe at Split Rock Sweetwater Prayer Camp, property the tribe privately owns. There, the two women met with Palestinian-Americans, organizers with the Nakba tour and members of the Ramapough Lenape–Aaron, Two Clouds, and Chief Dwaine Perry.

Although the Lenape nation is indigenous to present-day New Jersey and much of the area of the prayer camp has belonged to the tribe historically, forced displacement by American colonization has resulted in Lenape living throughout North America. The Lenape nation is part of a coalition that seeks to halt the construction of an oil pipeline that is being built through their historic lands, including the oldest Native burial ground in North America that is located several miles from the prayer camp.

Tribe members like Chief Dwaine Perry report that since the tribe began receiving greater and more visible support in its campaigns against the pipeline following the Standing Rock demonstrations, the nearby town of Mahwah, collaborating with local property owners, has become increasingly aggressive in trying to confiscate the Prayer Camp land. The town has used manipulative rezoning tactics and regulatory fines as well as an elaborate police frame-up against the Chief and several other Lenape. This repressive action has diverted much of the Tribe’s focus on stopping the pipeline and is part of a long and sordid historyof corporate abuse against the Lenape tribe.

During the communal dialogue, members of the tribe remarked about the similarities and differences of the struggles that the Lenape face locally compared to the struggle of the Palestinians who were displaced.”

Please read and share the full article at Mondoweiss: